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FTRG: Who We Are

Lab Directors  

Richard E. Heyman, Ph.D.

Dr. Heyman is co-director of the Family Translational Research Group and Professor in the Faculty of Health at New York University. He has been Principal Investigator (PI) on over 50 grants/contracts from federal funders, and has authored about 150 journal articles and book chapters. His research program has focused on the development and maintenance of family problems, with a strong focus on family maltreatment and relationship distress. Dr. Heyman's current studies investigate these phenomena from the most microsocial (e.g., What dyadic processes underlie both anger de-escalation and coercive escalation? What are the mechanisms through which these processes impact health) to the most macro social (e.g., Is it possible to drive down the prevalence of IPV, child maltreatment, suicidality, and substance problems by intervening on a population's risk factors, not on the problems themselves?). Recent research also includes doctor-patient communication and dissemination of effective treatments for a variety of outcomes. Dr. Heyman's research includes a focus on methodological issues, especially on identifying and rectifying problems with measurement tools. Dr. Heyman created the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System, the most widely used system currently active for observing couples, and directs its coding center (which codes couples observations for the FTRG and for labs across the world). He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Oregon.

Amy M. Smith Slep, Ph.D.

Dr. Slep's research focuses on understanding the interconnected concepts of anger, conflict, aggression, and abuse in families with the ultimate goals of (a) determining what distinguishes adaptive from destructive processes and (b) developing effective interventions. Her work is strongly grounded in social learning theory and is informed by basic research on emotion, social cognition, self-control, and aggression. Ultimately, she is interested in identifying and exploiting the naturally occurring mechanisms of change and outcomes to serve as the basis for more powerful interventions. Most of her work to date has focused on testing hypotheses that build toward an integrated theory of the etiology and maintenance of child and partner abuse. To serve as a foundation for such work, she maintains a strong interest in addressing methodological and measurement gaps that exist in this area. Finally, she is committed to translating the findings from her basic studies into effective prevention and treatment, and extending this work into real world settings. Since obtaining her Ph.D in 1995, Dr. Slep has served as the PI or co-PI on eight federally-funded studies. Her work is currently funded by NIMH, CDC, DoD, and USAF.

Research Scientists

Katherine Baucom

Dr. Baucom's research focuses on how couples and the two partners adapt to stressors at multiple levels. She is interested in basic research on relationship processes as well as translational applications of basic findings in treatment outcome research. Her work has been funded by both the National Institutes of Health and small grants from several universities. She received a PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCLA (2012) and completed her predoctoral clinical internship at the University of California, San Diego and San Diego VA Family Mental Health Program. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Utah. 

Dr. Eddy

Dr. Eddy specializes in conducting rigorous longitudinal research studies of prevention and intervention programs intended to benefit children and families. He is particularly interested in working within systems of care, and over the years, has conducted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in collaboration with school systems, the juvenile justice system, and the prison and community corrections systems, as well as with non-profits working with these and other social services systems, including child welfare. He has actively fostered and maintained relationships between the research community and practitioners and policymakers with the shared goal of improving outcomes for children and families. Areas of focus have included measurement of family processes and outcomes, culturally competent interventions, long term multimodal interventions, and statistical methodology. His work has been supported by both public and private funders, including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, the Administration for Children and Families, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and GIZ. 

Michael Lorber, Ph.D.

Dr. Lorber is the Director of Developmental Research at the Family Translational Research Group. His primary research interests are centered on externalizing behaviors – their form, development, etiology, and consequences – from infancy through adulthood, primarily in relational contexts: (1) child externalizing behaviors, their early development, and the roles that family (e.g., parenting) and child (e.g., temperament) factors play in them; (2) aggression in adolescent and adult couples, their longitudinal patterns, and related relationship dynamics; (3) cognitive, affective, and psychophysiological mechanisms of dysfunctional discipline strategies in parents of toddlers; (4) family environment-biology transactions in the development of psychopathology and physical health; (5) prevention of early externalizing problems; and (6) research methodology. His work has been funded by NIMH, NICHD, and NIJ.

Danielle Mitnick, Ph.D.

Dr. Mitnick is the Director of Family Clinical and Prevention Research at the Family Translational Research Group. She also acts as an Adjunct Instructor for the Clinical Communications program for NYU's dental students.

Dr. Mitnick received a PhD in 2010 in Clinical Psychology from Stony Brook University, and completed her predoctoral clinical internship at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center. During her doctoral training, Dr. Mitnick focused on couples' relationships, especially across the transition to parenthood.

She serves as the Director of Clinical and Prevention Research, overseeing projects such as Couple CARE for Parents, which supports families with young infants in their transition and adjustment to having a new baby.

Dr. Mitnick has published on relationship satisfaction, transition to parenthood, and treating intimate partner violence.

Nichols

Dr. Nichols received a PhD in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her predoctoral clinical internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has taught, conducted clinical work, and collaborated on research at Northwestern University, Drexel University, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She received a predoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct her doctoral research on early childhood sibling relationships in high-risk families. Her research interests include social-emotional development, developmental psychopathology, and family relationships.

Kimberly Rhoades

Grounded within developmental psychopathology and risk and resilience frameworks, my research falls into 3 intersecting areas: 1) how family hostility and stress influence the development of conduct problems, delinquency, and substance use from infancy to emerging adulthood; 2) the intersection amongst environmental, genetic, and other biopsychosocial processes (e.g., sleep) in the development of these behavior problems; and 3) how to effectively translate this basic research into effective preventive interventions that can be brought to scale.

Stacey Tiberio

Dr. Tiberio graduated from the University of Notre Dame’s Quantitative Psychology program in May of 2008 and has been working the Family Translational Research Group since August of 2017.

Methodologically, her primary research interests include longitudinal data analysis — or the modeling of how processes change over time. In particular, she is interested time-dynamic transactional models, which apply concepts self- and co-regulation to understand the uni- and bi-directional relationships within and between processes.

Dr. Tiberio's substantive research interests predominately focus on gaining a better understanding of how individuals’ physical and mental health may be influenced by their own behaviors, the behaviors of those around them and their social contexts. Dr. Tiberio is particularly interested in violence prevention, and identifying risk and protective factors of violent and antisocial behaviors.

Junior Research Scientists

Justin Chase

I graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s of arts in psychology in 2009, a master’s of science in psychological science from Montana State University in 2012, and a certificate of advanced study in educational research from the State University of New York (SUNY) in 2016.

My primary research interests include (1) how motivational alignment influences learning, and (2) how individuals recall, understand, and apply statistical information in their day-to-day lives, and (3) the study of methods used to enhance the efficiency and efficacy of program evaluation and research designs. 

Gabriella Damewood

I recently graduated from St. John’s University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. There, I developed a passion for social justice issues. During my senior year I worked as an extern at FTRG, and upon graduation joined full time. I am extremely excited to contribute full time to a lab dedicated to furthering domestic violence research. In the future, I hope to pursue graduate studies in order to serve under-privileged populations. 

Ashley Dills, B.A.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from New York University in 2012. During my senior year, I worked as an extern at FTRG, where I focused on coding mother-child interactions for laxness and warmth. After graduation, I was given the opportunity to join the lab as a Junior Research Scientist. My current focus is The Dating Study: an observational, longitudinal study that we hope will shed new light on adolescent couples' relationship dynamics. Additionally, I graduated with a Master of Social Work from NYU in 2016.

Emma Ellerbeck

I graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2016. Following matriculation, I was an extern at FTRG, before joining the staff full time in September 2017. I am very excited to be a member of a team comprised of such talented and dynamic individuals. In the future, I hope to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, eating, hiking, and stopping dogs on the street to pet them. 

Sarah Fernandez

I studied biology and public health at Cornell. After graduating in 2012 I worked on a grant at Jacobi hospital examining asthmatic triggers in the Bronx. I then went on to coordinate a grant investigating insulin resistance and breast cancer prognosis at Mount Sinai Hospital. Through those experiences I discovered my interests lay in behavior and interpersonal dynamics. I am excited to apply my experience to a new and incredibly interesting topics of study. I hope to learn as much about the field of psychology as possible at FTRG and feel honored to work with a such smart, driven, and distinguished group of people.

In my spare time I enjoy live music and dancing, good food, hiking, running, yoga, traveling to new places to eat good food, and watching videos of puppies online. 

Roland Hart

I earned a BS in Psychology and a BA in Music from Drake University in 2013. I then moved to New York City where I completed my MA in Psychology at Columbia's Teachers College in 2015. During my time at Columbia, I joined the HIV/Gender Sexuality and Health research center at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where I studied sexual minority stress and HIV risk among NYC adolescents. From April 2014-April 2017 I was employed at the NYU School of Medicine where I studied biological markers of PTSD and traumatic brain injury among US military veterans. Also during this time, I worked as a research consultant for the United Nations, performing statistical analyses for internal staff well-being reports. In June 2017, I joined FTRG as a Junior Research Scientist, and am currently working on FTRG's Army FAP project – a multi-million dollar grant with the U.S. Army to determine the best model for substantiating allegations of family maltreatment.

Broadly, my research interests include veterans and military mental health, aggression/partner maltreatment, and neuropsychology.

Keryn Kleiman

I joined FTRG in 2016 as an RMICS coder and returned in 2017 to co-author a totally revised dominance process coding system and subsequently lead dominance coding training. I am also currently a research assistant at the READ (Regulation of Emotion in Anxiety and Depression) Lab at Columbia University. There, I work on projects focused on examining mechanisms of change in mindfulness-based therapies targeting GAD and co-morbid depression. I graduated in 2012 with a BA in ethnomusicology from Barnard College at Columbia University, where I received a Tow Scholarship to conduct research in Moldova on Jewish and co-territorial folk music traditions. I am interested in studying how anxiety and mood disorders can be better treated through integrative therapies combining elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness. I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology with a focus on anxiety disorders and related treatments. When not at a lab, I spend time working as a recruitment researcher for a hedge fund and performing Eastern European folk violin music. 

Angela Marinakis, BA

Lab Manager

After completing the externship, I was fortunate enough to join the FTRG staff as a Research Assistant in 2014. Now as Lab Manager, I enjoy coordinating studies and being the point of contact for our lab. I love to learn and share what I learn with others. I graduated from New York University with a BA in Psychology and Anthropology and a minor in Environmental Biology and recently completed my MA in Social and Consumer Psychology there as well.

Samara Trindade

I am a graduate of Nyack College with a BA in Psychology and am currently pursuing a MA in General Psychology at Hunter College. I begin my externship with FTRG as a recruiter for the Dating Study in Fall 2014 and a Demand-Withdraw head coder in Summer 2015. I have been extremely fortunate to join the FTRG staff as a Junior Research Scientist in August 2016 and am excited to work on the Science of Behavior Change study. I plan to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the future, work with couples and families, and teach psychology in an academic setting.